Of all the primal human urges, it is the desire to be kind to our fellow men and women that is arguably the most important. We have a keen ability to recognize when other people are suffering, and we want to put an end to it. It hurts our hearts when others are hurting, but when we can do something to alleviate their pain, it does our souls a world of good.
Still, there are so many wrongs to right in the world, so many injustices to correct, and so much healing to provide. To take on these monumental tasks, nonprofit organizations and charities exist all over the world, each one with a particular mission to right one of the planet’s wrongs. And if you can’t get out on the front lines of injustice and directly affect change in the world, you can contribute money or time to a charity whose mission is aligned with your values.
However, the choices can be overwhelming; with thousands of charities and not for profit organizations around the globe, it’s not always easy to decide which ones should be the recipients of your donations. I’d definitely encourage you to do some research before sending money; websites like Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and GiveWell offer in-depth evaluations of charities all over the world and can provide helpful insight before you write a check. Specifically, you’ll be able to find out the measurable impacts that charities are having on their target populations and how efficiently they use their donations to further their missions. Here are five international charities that are making a big difference, and I think you’d want to consider them carefully the next time you aim to make a donation.
1. Human Appeal
For the past 25 years, this UK-based charity has been helping the world’s most vulnerable populations, providing financial aid, development programs, and above all, hope. Its list of projects is impressive and heartwarming: setting up a water purification project in Gaza, providing services to Syrian refugees, bringing emergency relief to countries like Nepal and Myanmar, and working in areas ravaged by both war and natural disasters. At home in the UK, Human Appeal has run programs to counter domestic abuse and homelessness. A current UK campaign called Wrap Up Manchester seeks to provide warm winter coats to the region’s homeless population. If there’s a population somewhere on the planet that’s suffering, you can bet Human Appeal is working toward a solution. It’s an incredible charity that celebrates our common humanity and knows that the welfare of individuals matters above all else.
2. Living Goods
Getting quality healthcare to people in underdeveloped areas of the world has always been a challenge. Whether it’s everyday products like antacids and tampons to potentially life-saving medications, these are items that are in great need everywhere. Living Goods partners with companies that produce these products so that they can be obtained at the lowest cost possible. They then have programs to train entrepreneurial individuals who can then bring healthcare to people who need it most. The organization is like “the Avon of healthcare for the poor,” according to Living Goods Founder and former President, Chuck Slaughter. It’s making a huge difference in lowering the rates of child and infant mortality, improving women’s health, and making families and communities healthier and stronger.
3. 826 National
American Author, Dave Eggers is one of the co-founders of this US coast-to-coast writing and tutoring workshop for students in underserved parts of the country. It may not sound like much, but the services provided by 826 National empowers students to be creative, express themselves, and excel in school — things which are valuable not only in the present, but for the future of both the kids and our world. The organization’s seven chapters serve over 30,000 students per year; these kids get personal attention and personalized help. Best of all, thanks to 826 National’s many volunteers and donors, these services are absolutely free to the kids who need them.
“Working together to end child marriage” is the mission of Girls Not Brides, and it’s a massive one. Though it may not be a problem in our own backyards, the gut-wrenching truth is that every year, around the world, 15 million girls under the age of 18 are forced to marry. This means that these 15 million girls each year don’t have access to things like healthcare and education. They are often the victims of domestic violence; they do not get to enjoy their childhood, and they are caught in a life that will never allow them to realize their potential. Girls Not Brides aims to end child marriage in the next generation by partnering with over 650 organizations in over 80 countries to provide education and visibility, get government and academic agencies involved, and boost efforts on both the local and national levels to end this horrific practice.
The desire to end world hunger is a core principle of many organizations, but One Acre Fund approaches it in a new and effective way: they put the work of food production and everything that goes along with it, into the hands of small farmers in areas where hunger and poverty is an ongoing problem. They work in countries like Burundi, Uganda, Malawi, and their home country of Kenya, providing training, financing, and more to help these farmers provide for themselves and for their communities. It’s empowering to individuals, but it’s also providing a viable and sustainable solution to a serious problem. The organization is just over ten years old, but it’s already made a difference in the lives of over 400,000 farmers.
Featured photo credit: Avel Chuklanov via unsplash.com
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